There Are a Lot of Factors That Are in Play Behind a Country That Becomes Stagnant. Find Out 20 Such Factors in This Article.
Each country is different and no matter where you live, there are pros and cons. In each of our individual countries, there are issues that never get solved, have no foreseeable outcome or leaders just don’t have the resources or drive to attend to a specific problem.
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David Cameron, the former Prime Minister of the UK once said, “Countries are different. They make different choices. We cannot harmonise everything.”
Let’s see if countries are really all that different.
If you have a lot on your lost to get done today, you can save time by switching to the video version of this article:
with that out of the way, let’s dive straight into the article.
Countries Are Old, Infrastructure Can’t Keep up With the Demands of Its Population
Aluxers, we get it. Nobody can choose the age of the country they’re born in – but the exponential growth of the population puts a huge strain on existing infrastructure.
It’s predicted by 2050, 70% of the population will live in cities, which is a frightening projection because already cities are bursting at the seams.
In this scenario, world leaders are unable to keep up with the rapid urbanization and despite their best intentions, nothing gets done to alleviate the problem. The root cause of this is lack of funding, because to adapt old infrastructure; transport, power, water and telecommunication networks all need to be upgraded, maintained or built from scratch.
Putin also brought this into focus when he said that most US presidents have good intentions, but with Obama for example, he couldn’t always fix problems because the bureaucracy was just so damn complicated.
A Weak Central Government
In his paper, Pathways to State Failure, J. Goldstone defined a failed state as one that has “lost both its effectiveness and legitimacy.” He brought forward several examples:
- Escalation of communal group conflict – examples included Syria, Somalia, Myanmar, and Chad amongst many.
- State predation – which we’ll touch on later. He included Venezuela, Brazil, Philippines, and Croatia, to highlight a few.
- Democratic collapse
- Reform crisis like Iran under the Shah
- Regional or guerrilla rebellion – which we focus on now.
Take Columbia as an example. Their central government exerts zero control over half the country, currently dominated by left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries.
The states glaring absence means basic public services are missing. Roads and healthcare are severely lacking, and there are no well thought out property rights available to their citizens. At one point, roughly 5 million hectares of land were expropriated in Colombia, usually by force.
Many parts of Columbia are poverty stricken, at the mercy of armed insurgents and paramilitary forces.
However, where Columbia has done good is their National Police have worked hard at capturing drug lords. Over the past decade they’ve extradited roughly 100 a year, and offer advise to other Latin America and African countries.
Lack of Property Rights
Aluxers, we just mentioned how Columbia don’t have their property rights quite figured out, to put it mildly.
In countries where there are insecure property rights, economic development is often hindered and there are limited economic opportunities for poor people.
Gerald P. O’Driscoll Jr. – senior fellow at the Cato Institute and Lee Hoskins – senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute explored the role of property rights in economic development and suggested that “Prosperity and property rights are inextricably linked.”
The lack of property rights can lead to many problems, including opportunism, exploitation of property, and no desire to maintain or upkeep current living quarters.
Too Many Middlemen and Leaders Are Greedy
Albert Einstein once said, “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.”
If we had to list every greedy country, we’d be with you all day. In our video, 15 Reasons Why Money Doesn’t Solve Homelessness, we mentioned Jacob Zuma – the former President of South Africa. A great portion of the population in South Africa live in squatter camps and informal settlements, yet the former president used $28 million to upgrade his home! Money that belonged to the taxpayer, that should have been used to fix roads, provide education and make the country better.
Egypt is another example. Under Hosni Mubarak – the late former President of Egypt – the elite used their powers to create monopolies. Government and military owned great portions of the economy and even when they did “liberalize” large parts of the economy were privatized and given to friends and family of the late Mubarak.
This move netted the Mubarak family close to $70 billion while most Egyptians were unable to claw their way out of poverty.
Natural Resources Are Abused and Not Looked After
The abuse of natural resources goes together with greed. Stewart M. Patrick, a senior at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, “Perversely, the worst development outcomes–measured in poverty, inequality, and deprivation–are often found in those countries with the greatest natural resource endowments.”
Larry Diamond of Stanford University further adds, “There are twenty-three countries in the world that derive at least 60 percent of their exports from oil and gas and not a single one is a real democracy.”
The mismanagement of natural resources is a huge challenge facing many countries. The exploitation of non-renewable resources triggers conflict around the globe. Even renewable resources like water, are being abused in drought-stricken countries.
The consequences of over-exploitation are huge and include deforestation, forced migration, species going extinct, soil erosion, increase of greenhouse gases… and all of these contribute to a country not using their time, energy and finances on bettering the life of its people.
Projects Are Only Pushed Before Elections
It should be a case of “too little too late” but that isn’t how it goes. Many leaders make grand promises leading up to elections, and just don’t follow through.
Take Silvio Berlusconi as an example. The former Prime Minister of Italy made many promises which he didn’t keep.
He promised to transform and unify the Italian right, which didn’t transpire, despite his best intentions.
He promised to make his comrades rich, and that didn’t happen.
He promised to reform his country’s system of justice, which when he did try – seemed like he did it for personal gain and not for the benefit of his people.
Much the same in South Africa… just before elections, political parties like to hand out food parcels, free tee shirts, fix RDP housing and basically do the things they should have been doing from the start.
Joe Biden has come under fire just this week for originally promising to eradicate $50,000 of student loans for individual students, which he’s now changed to $10,000 and it would take jumping over hoops to be awarded that relief.
Natural Disasters Make It Impossible to Move Forward
Aluxers, every year natural disaster occurs. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods – you name it. They are tragic events where lives are lost, peoples normal is no longer and billions of dollars in losses are gone.
Areas hit by the largest natural disasters see a mass exodus of the wealthy, while the poor have no choice but to remain behind. This situation causes great inequality, poverty rates increase in those that remain and it’s near impossible to fix what remains.
Let’s head to California for our next example. While the Woolsey fire had burnt 100,000 acres of land in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and firefighters and civilians were out battling the blaze, the elite were hiring their own firefighters to protect their homes.
According to the New York Post, private firefighters can be hired for $3,000 a day and many insurance companies are offering the service, which naturally comes with exorbitant monthly premiums.
New Technologies Are Blocked, Banned or Not up to Scratch
It’s history’s job to teach us what not to do in the future. Now, there’s no denying that technology can disrupt the normal. It’s hard to always keep up, and it can be scary. New technology means getting rid of the known for the unknown and many countries are too afraid to do that.
Let’s go back the 19th century. Railways are the next big thing, and the UK and US are embracing this new technology. But when Francis I was approached to consider a railway in Austria, he was afraid to go for it with the French Revolution fresh in his mind thinking it would cause huge problems for Austria.
Same for Russia who blocked new technologies to keep the tsarist regime safe. So, while teeny Britain was getting thousands of miles of track, Russia had one small piece leading to the palace – benefitting nobody but the tsar.
With Covid, the digital divide is clearer than ever. While some countries are coping easily with countless Zoom meetings, online tutoring and anything internet related, others are freezing every minute, lagging and just not able to keep up.
Those in Power Hire Their Cronies to Do the Work
It’s all good and well to hire your besties or those that give you a little something something under the table… but they are the ones that are not qualified to do the job and do more harm than good.
Prime example is former South African President, Jacob Zuma, accused of nepotism when he gave a ministerial position to his daughter.
Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has also recently come under fire for announcing his new cabinet that had several family members included. Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has appointed one brother as the prime minister and finance minister and another brother as the minster of agriculture.
Keeping it in the family takes on a whole new meaning in some countries.
Countries Are Reluctant to Embrace Blockchain to Fix Problems
Blockchain technology can be used effectively in many spheres, yet so many countries are afraid to embrace it.
For starters, it can be used for voting – which would have resulted in none of the tension that is underway in the USA at the moment. The results would have been authentic and legit, because all entries in a decentralized ledger, are “immutable and irreversible,” according to misdev.com.
It would benefit areas like copyright laws, charity, crowdfunding, real-estate, cloud storage, and government operations.
No Law and Order
One of the things that need to be working well is a state that does the following:
Provides a bit of order. Provides laws that make life easier and better for all, have a good method to solve disputes and access to basic public goods.
Doesn’t seem too difficult, yet many countries cannot make this happen. And when these basics don’t happen, nothing happens.
It’s tragic in that many countries are struggling to deal with civil unrest and conflict. Take Somalia for example. For roughly 3 decades, there has been armed conflict in Somalia. Bombings, suicide attacks, kidnappings, and armed assaults. Civilians are displaced, killed, and injured and there is no way out for the victims.
Since 1960, when they gained independence, several attempts have been made to create an effective central state, but having just highlighted the situation in Somalia, it’s fair to say that all attempts have failed.
If you thought your company is the only one with a lack of law and order, here’s a list of 20 Most Corrupt Countries in the World.
Leaders Don’t Have a Shared Vision
When this is the case, it’s very difficult to get things done. When you have a shared vision, it’s far easier to get moving on projects, get things signed off and see change.
When vision is not shared, it takes far longer to get decisions made, to get the go-ahead and to implement the change.
In some countries, rulers have point blank not listened to their cabinet or overruled them, like in the case of the late Robert Mugabe, former dictator and president of Zimbabwe. He ruled Zim for 37-years, and in that time brought the country to its knees despite warnings, advice, and guidance.
Aluxers, we encourage you to listen to Why Nations Fail – The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. We have a great partnership with Audible, so if this is your first time – use this code: alux.com/freebook
Citizens Keep Speaking About the “Good Old Days”
Aluxers, change is a part of life. And if we don’t embrace it, we fall behind, despite a country’s best efforts to move forward, if it’s citizens keep pining for the “good old days,” there will be little movement in the right direction.
Many of these “better days” or “good old days” were times when there was no equality.
Where people, despite being aware of racial bias or discriminatory behaviour, continued living their perfect life, in their lovely home with their gardener, a nanny and access to every healthcare facility available to them.
Which leads us to our next point.
Your Country Has Not Embraced Diversity
In countries that have a me vs they attitude; friction, unhappiness and instability follow suit. Insider Monkey took two big surveys regarding race and combined them to reveal the following results. Of 83,000 people questioned in 61 countries, the most racist countries were deemed to be:
10 – South Korea
9 – South Africa
8 – Palestine
7 – Kuwait
6 – Philippines
5 – Egypt
4 – Libya
3 – Bahrain
2 – Lebanon
1 – India
Of course, these results could differ dramatically if every country had been included, but it’s clear to see that not one of the countries listed are first world countries.
Gender Inequality Hinders Development
Several studies prove that gender inequality leads to compromised economic performance.
One study by Stephan Klasen affirmed that despite progress, gender gaps persist in many developing countries. These gaps he said reduced economic performance in a country. The study further affirmed that if the gaps were non-existent, GDP would be much larger.
Gender inequality means that so much human potential is being lost and not utilized constructively, which can limit a countries growth exponentially.
Like the late and great Nelson Mandela once said, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”
Aluxers, why do you feel that nothing gets done in your country? We’d love to hear from you!